To Hell With Destiny

by Jay David

Chapter 1: To Hell With Destiny

He had been sitting quietly to one side for a good number of minutes, simply looking ahead and watching the others talked amongst themselves. Spike had, upon his face, a look of worry, which was understandable, given the circumstances. For his friends, Twilight especially, had been called yet again by the cutie map, that strange and magical table before him that, at this very moment, bore the symbols of their cutie marks, pointing them to where they needed to go to solve another friendship problem. The young drake watched the thing carefully, only to then let his eyes drift upwards, hearing his friends talk amongst themselves about where they were going and what they would need to bring with them. But, as ever, it was Twilight who brought everything to order.

"Okay, girls, let's do this. The map has made it clear where we need to go, and there's little time to waste."

There were nods of agreement all around, and soon afterwards, Twilight turned to Spike with a reassuring smile.

"Okay, Spike. I need you to stay here. We'll be gone a few days at most. Do you think you'll be okay for that time?"

Although hesitant, the young dragon gave a nod in response, prompting yet another smile from Twilight.

"Good. Don't stay up too late. We'll be back before you know it."

Spike watched as she turned from him and began to walk off, with her friends close behind her. A worry grew in his heart, and he felt an overwhelming need to speak. To say what he'd, quite frankly, been wanting to say for some time now. But fear wrestled in him in equal measure over how he would do it, or even if he should do it. But, when he saw Twilight about to take a step outside of the castle door, as he finally balled his hands into fists and spoke up.


Immediately, the mares stopped, turning in unison towards the youngster behind them. Twilight looked upon him and, almost instantly, picked up on the concerned expression he had. He was upset about something, that much was clear, and he needed her to hear him. Walking towards him, Twilight spoke in a soft manner.

"Spike? What's wrong?"

The young dragon opened his mouth, only for his hesitation to rear its ugly head again, causing him to look away, almost out of shame. Seeing this, Twilight gently placed a hoof upon his shoulder, causing him to look upon her once more.

"Spike...whatever it is...you can tell me."

Nervously, Spike glanced from her to the faces of all the other mares. Each of them seemed to share the same concern for him as Twilight did, and despite their good intentions, that, in many ways, actually made him feel worse. What he had to say was not what they were going to enjoy hearing, he knew that in his gut. And yet, after everything that had happened, he felt he could no longer stay silent. And so, with permission granted by his carer, he glanced over to the nearby cutie map, frowning at it slightly as he began to finally speak up, albeit in a somewhat wobbly voice.

"I...I don't...I don't think you guys should go."

Naturally, all of the mares, Twilight included, looked to each other with a degree of confusion, and when the young princess looked back to her ward, her words reflected that.

"Don’t go? Don't go where?"

In response, Spike raised a hand and pointed it straight at the map.

"There. Wherever it is that the map is sending you."

Hearing that, Twilight's expression became somewhat more serious.

"Spike...we have to go. The map told us we have to."

Spike turned to her, now frowning.

"I know it told you. But why does that mean you have to obey? I mean...what IS this thing? What powers it? How does it know what's going on? And if it has all that power...why doesn't it, or whatever magic is behind it, solve the problem instead?"

Twilight was, needless to say, taken aback by thus sudden barrage of questions from her assistant, but, she soon composed herself, opening her mouth to give some kind of response. And yet, when she tried wracking her mind for an answer to give him, she actually found herself at a loss on what to say. She thought back to every encounter she'd had, both with the map and with the tree that had spawned it, and yet, she was nowhere close to being able to provide an answer for the youngster in front of her. Seeing that difficulty plastered all over her face, Spike continued to frown.

"You...you don't know, do you? You have no idea what this thing is, or anything else about it, but...you still do what it says? Why?"

Slowly, Twilight turned from him, looking instead to her friends, who, apparently, seemed just as much at a loss for words as she was at this point. They looked to each other, hoping that one of them would have something to say to all of this. And yet, silence was the only thing they got from one another. None of them knew anything substantial about this magical map, other than the fact that it had frequently tasked them to go all over Equestria to accomplish tasks, and that they had obeyed. And now, having heard that very description from Spike, it suddenly dawned on them that, what they had been doing, might not have been a wise decision. In fact, Spike spoke quite plainly to them as soon as he saw this shared concern they had.

"You've all been following orders...from a stranger!"

To say that they were disturbed by this interpretation would have been an accurate description, as they all looked somewhat unnerved by this new line of thinking. But, in time, Rainbow Dash stepped forward, pointing to the map herself and speaking up.

"Well...yeah, maybe that's true. But think about all the good stuff we've done! Helping friendships, saving towns, all that good stuff!"

Hearing that, Twilight turned form Rainbow and looked to Spike, this time with a smile upon her face.

"Rainbow is right, Spike. We may not know all that much about the map or what goes on behind its power, but we have done many good things by doing what it's asked of us. It's our duty to spread friendship. Our responsibility. Our desti..."

But Twilight was unable to finish that sentence, as Spike stamped his foot down and shouted loudly before she could say anything else.


Immediately, the young alicorn took a step back, shocked from this aggressive display her assistant was showing. Silence hung in the air as the mares looked to him. He was staring at the ground after his outburst, breathing heavily, and then, to the shock of all of them, a single tear fell from his eye and down to the ground. When he finally looked up, they saw his eyes welling up, and his voice, as it had been before, was wobbling.

"Don't...don't say it's your destiny! Please! Destiny is...is what somepony else wants for you! Destiny is you following lines in a script! Destiny...is you never having a choice in the matter."

He turned from them, fear once more plastered on his face.

"You never once had a say in anything you've been through. Not once! If there is a destiny in all of this, some force deciding for you that this is what you should do...then...I don't want you to do it."

Although still stunned, Twilight nevertheless took a step closer to her young friend.

"Spike...where is all this coming from? Why are you so upset?"

The dragon snapped his head in her direction, looking to her as if the answer was the most obvious thing in the world.

"Why? Why?! Don’t you know? By following destiny, you and Fluttershy and Rarity and all the rest have been put in danger more times than I can count! Destiny put you on a path that led you to having your cutie marks taken away by a lunatic mare! Destiny made you fight a monster form Tartarus who stole your magic! Destiny...destiny keeps doing all of this to you...and you're...you're happy about it!"

Taking a closer step to him, Twilight tried to look as reassuring as possible.

"Spike...I know a lot of bad things have happened to us. But...a lot of good things have happened too. We've helped and saved so much."

Spike looked to her, but continued to look upset.

"I know...but one day...you might not win. One day...destiny will send you somewhere, or ask you to do something...and the answer on how to save the day or fix the problem might not come to you, like it always has before. And what then? What will happen to you then?"

She opened her mouth to speak, only to find that, once again, she had no answer. At least, not one that she felt would help. In the end, she simply said the only thing she could think of.

"Spike. If we didn't do those things...who would?"

But to that, Spike merely frowned.

"Someone. Sooner or later...someone would always solve the problem. It just...doesn't always have to be you."

The two lifelong friends stared at each other for some time, and at the end, of it, Twilight spoke, more hushed than before.

"Spike...what is it you want us to do?"

To that, Spike knew exactly what he wanted to say.

"I want...I want you to not want to keep putting yourself in danger because some unseen force asks you to. I want you to not go out and leave me wondering if you'll ever come back again. I want..."

Finally, the tears began to flow, and he rushed forward, embracing Twilight in a tight hug, much to her surprise.

"...I want...I want you to look at destiny...and for once...just...just say no!"

Again, a silence followed, and Twilight, seeing the weeping youth embracing her, fell to her knees and wrapped her hooves around him, holding him close in an attempt to comfort him. The only sound that could be heard now were his sobs, and during it all, the other mares looked to each other, some concerned, some confused, and some actually looking like they were asking the same questions that Spike had apparently been asking all this time. After a while, Fluttershy, in her usual meek fashion, walked up to Twilight and spoke softly to her.

"Um...Twilight? Is...is Spike right? About all of this?"

The young princess looked to her friend, and then, soon afterwards, let her eyes drift over to the nearby cutie map. She stared at it, seeing their cutie marks hovering in the designated location, telling them where to go and what to do, and for the first time, something changed in her. With her assistant's words still ringing in her mind, she looked upon that map as if it were the first time she had ever done so, as if she were truly seeing it for the first time. And for once, she did not simply see it as a means of knowing where she and her friends needed to go. No, for the first time, she saw it as what her assistant had, apparently, been seeing it as this whole time. Something unknown. Something strange. And perhaps, even something dangerous. It was an artefact of great magic that, in her entire time with it, she had never questioned, and that, coupled with everything else Spike had said, led her to feel great doubt in her heart. Slowly, she turned to her pegasus friend, with that doubt as clear as day in her eyes.

"I...I don't know, Fluttershy. For the first time...I'm not sure what to believe."

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